News / Americas

Federal Troops to Help Rio Battle Gang Violence in Slums

A military police helicopter flies over the Mandela shantytown, part of the Manguinhos slum complex, as policemen patrol the area on the ground after attacks to their Pacifying Police Unit post in Rio de Janeiro, March 21, 2014.
A military police helicopter flies over the Mandela shantytown, part of the Manguinhos slum complex, as policemen patrol the area on the ground after attacks to their Pacifying Police Unit post in Rio de Janeiro, March 21, 2014.
Reuters
Brazil will deploy federal troops to Rio de Janeiro to help quell a surge in violent crime following attacks by drug traffickers on police posts in three slums on the north side of the city, government officials said on Friday.
 
Less than three months before Rio welcomes tens of thousands of foreign soccer fans for the World Cup, the attacks cast new doubts on government efforts to expel gangs from slums using a strong police presence. The city will host the Olympics in 2016.
 
Rio de Janeiro state Governor SDergio Cabral met president Dilma Rousseff on Friday morning and asked for federal troops to be deployed to help stop the attacks on police units overseeing slums across Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's second largest city.
 
“They [gangs] want us to retreat, but with the help of the president and the federal government we will continue to advance,” Cabral said after meeting with Rousseff and securing the dispatch of troops to Rio.
 
On Thursday  night, shooting broke out between drug traffickers and police in a slum near the Manguinhos complex of shantytowns. Three policemen were shot and wounded, including the Manguinhos police chief, local media reported. The attackers set fire to and destroyed the local police post housed in a converted cargo container.
 
The gangs, made up mainly of drug traffickers, knocked down power lines during the attack, leaving Manguinhos in the dark.
 
Violence is on the rise again in the slums ringing Rio that were “pacified” in recent years by police occupations as drug traffickers seek to reconquer their lost territory.
 
The backlash to the police operations in Rio has heightened concerns about security and law and order during the World Cup and the Olympics, global events that political leaders had hoped would showcase the emergence of a modern Brazil.
 
An estimated 600,000 foreign soccer fans will arrive in Brazil for the World Cup in June. Seven games will be played in Rio, including the tournament's July 13 final, in the legendary MaracanDa stadium located a few miles from the Manguinhos slums.
 
The use of excess force by the police has angered residents and led to criticism from international human right groups of alleged abuses.
 
Brazilians were shocked this week by images of a woman who was shot and then dragged along the street by a police car when her body fell out of the trunk following a shootout in a slum.
 
To date, 36 Rio slum areas have been pacified with more than 9,000 police patrolling neighborhoods where 1.5 million people live. Initial success in evicting the gangs was applauded, but the police operations have been criticized for merely displacing crime to other slums.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Pope to Tour 3 South American Countries

Grueling, week-long trip will showcase Francis at his unpredictable best: speaking his native Spanish on his home turf about issues closest to his heart
More

Congress Aims to Keep Bans on Dealing with Cuban Military

Proposed legislation would ban Americans from engaging in any financial transactions with the Cuban military or the Cuban Ministry of the Interior
More

Video Rapprochement Opens New, Uncertain Chapter in US-Cuba Relations

Change is result of months of secret negotiations that culminated in December with decision to resume ties, but critics say nothing has changed in Cuba’s human rights record
More

Pirates and Hold-ups: Crime Strikes Venezuela's Oil Industry

National crime pandemic is a growing headache for the oil industry, which accounts for nearly all of the country's export revenues
More

US Defense Secretary: 'No Anticipation' of Giving Up Base in Cuba

Havana says normalization of relations will require surrendering base US has leased since 1903
More

Mexico Supreme Court Judge Urges States to Legalize Gay Marriage

Court ruled in decision published on June 19 that laws restricting marriage to a man and a woman were unconstitutional
More